11 Dec 2007

Has Bertie actually resigned? Or does it just feel like he has? Either way, now that he’s gone, it’s time to nostalgically recount stories of ‘our little brush with the greatness that was the Prime Minister of that country of four million on the rain soaked north west periphery of Europe which people from our nearest neighbour (Wales) don’t actually know the capital of’.


Here’s mine.


About a year and a half ago, as part of Community Challenge, we were due to film the official launch of one of our little projects in Galway. A couple of days beforehand we were told that the Teesh was going to show up and it was suggested that we do a bit of an interview where he’d make some vaguely supportive remarks.


The day arrived and, after his handlers finally stopped telling me the only questions I would be allowed to ask as-if-spontaneously, the Teesh and I lined ourselves up for our ‘piece to camera’.


‘Pieces to camera’ are funny things to do because you often find yourself unnaturally close to the person you have to interview. And that particular occasion with the Teesh I remember being the most uncomfortable of all – I can honestly say I’ve never been that close to someone in my life without actually snogging them (which, in the old days before Bertie was a bust onto which people had painted a Bertie Ahern portrait with make-up, I might have done. For fun, lads, for fun… )


Just when things seemed like they couldn’t get any kinkier, they suddenly did. First, I felt a hand fumbling around near my ribcage. Then it popped into view, chest height, pushing the Teesh and me a few inches apart. I noticed the hand had a tiny little Dictaphone in it – Wow! I thought, Someone wants to record what the Teesh and I are going to say!


Surprised, I looked around to find out who the disembodied hand belonged to, only to discover one of Bertie’s Boys standing quietly beside us, casually gazing upon the assembled crowd as if his right arm weren’t engaged in a weird little act of espionage.


‘Well…’ I thought, vowing never again to let myself be taken by a world leader of such little consequence. (Except I did. A few months later we were filming a pilot for a different series which was never made. The Teesh showed up, we had an impromptu interview and the same little routine played itself out again!)


Anyway, this is what I want to know: if the Teesh tapes every little interview he does for innocent, Sunday evening family entertainment TV shows, surely he keeps records of conversations he has with NCB stockbrokers, personal fundraisers, Manchester businessmen, people he rents houses from, and any others he has serious business with? I also wouldn’t mind knowing what happens to all the tapes with people like me on them he keeps – is there a library? Is someone paid to log these things, etc.?


(Word to Biffo: if, while using me to shamelessly promote yourself, one of your boys takes out one of those little tape recorders, I promise you – I will not be snogged. I mean, taped.)

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